High energy bills can be stressful on the pocketbook and nerves – especially when accompanied by discomforts and fussing over thermostat settings. Programmable thermostats are designed to alleviate these issues, and put total control of comfort at your fingertips.
New Face of Comfort Controls
It doesn’t seem like that long ago the first digital-display thermostats were being installed in homes. Mindful homeowners everywhere were delighted by the accuracy with which they could now set temperatures. It was a big leap from bulky boxes and large yet inaccurate round dials. The future had arrived.
However, the excitement of a new gadget soon wore off. Simple digital displays weren’t that much more convenient. Energy bills didn’t change, and people had to change the batteries in the common models that use batteries.
Then, someone had the bright idea of placing a computer chip inside a digital thermostat – focalizing convenience, comfort and energy savings with technology into one easy-to-use device. Finally, digital home comfort automation was born.
Is a Programmable Thermostat Right For Your Home?
Programmable thermostats are available in a wide range of styles and types. Some thermostats have familiar features, and some have high-tech new features. The market has grown quite competitive, and programmable thermostats are much more practical now than a few years ago. So, the first thing to decide is whether a programmable thermostat is right for you.
- Are you frustrated by high energy bills month after month?
- Do people in your household bicker and fret over thermostat settings?
- Do you suspect others in the home of disregarding your thermostat settings rules, and tampering with the temperature before you get home from work?
- Would you like to be able to program comfortable temperatures for other household occupants when you’re not home?
- Would you like to awaken in the morning to your favorite comfort temperature?
- How would you like to forget about turning the thermostat up/down when you leave for work, and let your programmable thermostat do it for you?
Programmable Thermostat Basics
If a programmable thermostat makes a lot of sense for convenience, comfort and energy savings, you can start smart shopping for your new home comfort automation device. Consider your weekly routine, and that of your household occupants.
- Do you work a set daily schedule, or do you go to work and arrive home at different times of the day?
- Do other household members have a set weekly routine?
- Do you travel frequently?
These are the types of questions to ask yourself before choosing one of the following types of programmable thermostats:
- You may choose a programmable thermostat that offers one program for the workweek and one program for the weekend (5+2-day).
- The 5+1+1-day thermostat offers one workweek program, and a separate program for Saturday and Sunday each.
- The 7-day thermostat offers the capability to program a different schedule for each day of the week. These are suggested for households with schedules other than the conventional five-day 40-hour workweek.
Programming Tips for Comfort and Savings
The steps for programming a thermostat vary from one device to another, and vary according to the type of display, user interface and available features. Your HVAC technician should get you started on the right foot by showing you the ropes. Most newer programmable thermostats are user-friendly and simple to navigate.
The following sample program suggests modest and substantial energy-saving temperature settings. Start with the more modest temperature swings, and increase weekly as you feel comfortable.
- Work hours – Program turn back/up (heating/cooling) temperatures 8-15 degrees during working hours.
- Evening leisure time – You may program temperature settings to reflect the approximate time you arrive home from work and your preferred comfort temperature. Energy Star suggests 68 degrees for the heating months and 78 degrees for the cooling months.
- Sleep hours – Program turn back/up temperatures 3-6 degrees during sleeping hours.
- Morning – If you want to awaken to a comfortable home, set the program to bring the heating or cooling system online about 15 minutes before your alarm clock is set to go off.
Smart shopping for a programmable thermostat means purchasing a unit that meets the needs of your lifestyle and comfort systems. Many standard programmable thermostats look identical to digital thermostats, but will offer more features. Some devices offer large display screens, which make it easier to read and navigate. Following are some of the features and specifications to look for with standard units:
- System alerts are a nice perk with programmable thermostats (and some digital units). When the thermostat reminds you to “change filter,” please do. You will save energy and lighten the load on your HVAC systems.
- Make sure the thermostat comes with at least four daily program changes. Some offer six or more.
- Start by pricing the 7-day unit, if you are considering the 5+2- or 5+1+1-day units. The 7-day offers more convenience and flexibility, and sometimes offers the same price.
- If you use a heat pump system in your home, make sure your new thermostat is compatible.
For further questions about programmable thermostats or other HVAC matters, please contact us at United Air Conditioning.
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